There’s a new advisory group in the UK made up of young Muslims – aged 16 to 25 – to advise ministers on extremism and discrimination.
But that’s come under fire today – from a Muslim peer who questions, Why a group for Muslims; why a group based on religion?
Baroness Warsi is the shadow minister for community cohesion, and, in a story in The Times today, points that Muslims face the same issues as young people from other backgrounds, and says it’s wrong to choose advisory groups purely on the basis of faith.
It was Warsi who last year helped to secure the release of an English teacher jailed in Sudan for allowing her class to name a teddy bear Mohammed.
Now she’s spoken out after the UK government named the 22 members of its first Young Muslim Advisory Group.
“To select a group of 22 young people, however talented they may be, to advise the government on 'Muslim issues' is patronising and deeply concerning,” she says in The Times.
"When will the government learn that the Muslim community is not a homogenous [sic] block, and the issues its young people face are predominantly the same issues that all young people in this country face, whatever their background, race or religion?
"Actions such as this are a continuation of the government's policy of state multiculturalism, which creates a more divided Britain."
Is that the government are allowing ever more “faith schools”? You don’t get more divided than dividing people in their formative years, allowing their sense of otherness to develop throughout their school years.
The members of the new group were announced yesterday and its first meeting with ministers will be within weeks.
The Times says, “The Young Muslim Advisory Group, made up equally of men and women, includes three Oxford University graduates, several medical students, a teenager who is currently studying for seven A-levels and a solicitor who is also Cub Scout leader.”